Mandatory telework to end July 5, 2021
by Dow Constantine, King County Executive
It has been more than a year since I instituted mandatory telework – for those King County employees whose work allowed for it – to slow the spread of COVID-19. I made this decision based on Public Health guidance for how we can make our workplaces as safe as possible for front-line employees and customers while continuing to provide essential in-person service. Your health and safety, and the health and safety of those we serve, continue to guide my decision making.
Vaccines are clearly our best path to ending to this pandemic, and our vaccination program has been very successful. In King County, almost 70% people 16 or older have now had at least their first shot, and nearly 50% are fully vaccinated. This is a tremendous achievement, and a testament to the efforts of our public health professionals, community partners, and volunteers who are working tirelessly to vaccinate every eligible person in our region.
However, we are still in a pandemic, and the number of COVID-19 cases remains too high. At King County we remain under mandatory telecommuting through July 5 for all Executive Branch employees who are currently telecommuting, except where there is an operational need to physically return to the workplace.
While there is still some uncertainty ahead of us, we are planning for the post-pandemic future. After consulting with Public Health experts and other County leaders, I have decided not to extend mandatory telework for Executive Branch employees beyond July 5, 2021. This is the first step in the gradual transition to our post-pandemic Future of Work model for delivering services. Leaders at the King County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Assessments are also ending mandatory telecommuting for their employees on July 5, where applicable. King County Elections and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will continue with mandatory telework where applicable beyond July 5 and will provide additional guidance to their employees. Employees in King County Council, Superior Court, and District Court should continue to follow the guidance from their leaders.
Ending the mandatory telework phase of our work does not mean everyone will come back to their worksites on July 6. In fact, most employees who are currently teleworking will continue to work remotely at least part of their workweek during this transition phase.
I recently approved the Future of Work plans submitted by departments for how King County will deliver services after the COVID-19 pandemic. Departments will now begin implementing these plans in accordance with public health guidance. Depending on where you work in our organization, you may continue to provide services in-person, perform all of your work remotely, or observe a hybrid model of both in-person and remote work.
Your department and division leaders will soon begin communicating timelines and expectations with you as we approach July 6. Worksites will only be re-activated when it is safe to do so, facilities and equipment are ready, and the need from our customers is there. We will not take unnecessary risks with health and safety.
We are continuing with plans for the closure of the Administration Building and associated moves to King Street Center and other locations. The Facilities Management Division in the Department of Executive Services is working with affected departments and those employees will receive specific information from their department leaders.
Finally, if you haven’t already had or scheduled a vaccination, I encourage you to book an appointment today, or simply walk in to one of the many clinics now offering vaccines without an appointment. We strongly encourage all employees to get vaccinated in order to protect yourself, your family, and our customers. Go to vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov to search for COVID-19 vaccine appointments near you by zip code. We have also built an employee vaccines webpage where you can learn how to schedule a vaccine, information about your benefits, and much more. The latest vaccine information from Public Health is available at kingcounty.gov/vaccine.
If you have any questions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and will work to provide answers and compile answers to frequently asked questions.
Please take care of yourself and continue to take measures to keep you, your family, and our community as safe as possible.